Sirens (1994)

"I am married and I do have some experience with the opposite sex." -
Hugh Grant to Sam Neill

Call this a shameless plug, but I'm happy to report that the Carolina
Theater, in Durham, may be *the* best-looking movie-theater in the

For starters, you get a real ticket when you dig out your dollars.  I'm
talkin' about one that's big and long and makes you feel like you've
actually bought something worth buying.  And unlike those snooty
theaters in Chapel Hill, the Carolina has matinee prices for both
afternoon shows.

The concession counter is surprisingly sparse-- I didn't notice any
butter for the popcorn-- and there's a trio of tables for patrons who
wish to relax before the show. Look to the wall south of the candy
counter and you'll see framed popcorn-popping instructions that look at
least forty-years old.

Having never been there before, I was quite surprised to discover that
the theater is actually a theater. Complete with stage and curtain and
seating at a steep degree!  I didn't get a chance to see how the other
auditorium is laid out, though. And it was quite a change to look down
at a screen instead of up!

(I can't say much about the projection. The film was in focus and
 sounded fine. I'm skeptical, though, on how well a blockbuster like
 TRUE LIES would look and sound.)

As for SIRENS, this saucy, soft-spoken Australian erotic-comedy was the
perfect tonic for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

SIRENS stars Hugh Grant as Reverend Campion, a recent Oxford grad.
dispatched into the picturesque Blue Mountains to confront artist Norman
Lindsay (Sam Neill). There's red tape in the bush and Campion has been
championed to address the artist about his provocative paintings that
have challenged the church.

Imagine the surprise when the Reverend and his wife (Tara Fitzgerald)
arrive to find Lindsay living with his four models-- only one of whom is
his wife!  The very-proper couple is aghast and flustered and, before
long, affected by the strange magic of their host's inhibitions. Or,
rather, lack thereof...

SIRENS is a great "date movie" and is about the closest that you can
come to "getting in the mood" without crossing-over into soft-core porn.
This is an extraordinarily tasteful film that's only shocking in what it
doesn't show. Or even allude to. Nobody wears a stitch of clothing,
mind you, but SIRENS is more sensual than sexual.  There's very little
to offend here.

The cast is tremendous treat.

Hugh Grant stays clothed and gets as flustered as Clark Kent every time
he walks into a room full of naked models. Sam Neill is more alive than
we've seen in a while. His character may be underwritten, but a happy
Sam Neill is a fun Sam Neill. Of the five females, Supermodel Macpherson
makes the strongest impression. She's flighty at first, but grows with a
performance that, happily, has nothing to with the amount of clothing
she avoids wearing.

(Ladies, there's also a male Adonis on hand to help "balance" the
 equation. :)

SIRENS also has a nice sense of humor, good pacing, and gorgeous
scenery.  Director Duigan lays the imagery on a bit thick-- come on, how
many snakes and apples do we *need* in this Garden of Eden?-- and too
many of his exterior shots are hideously overlit.  Quite a contrast to
the last Outback import, THE PIANO!

BOTTOM LINE:  Sexy, smart, and easy on the eyes (in more ways than one).
              Take a date.

Grade: B+

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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